August 2006 - Internet Talk

Beyond Web Traffic: Converting the Online Sale

By James Carpenter

“…Web analytics is becoming one of the hot sectors in Internet marketing and e-commerce technology,” according to in an October 2002 article.
Almost four years later, this statement is even more crucial now to anything we could have imagined back then in approaching the online marketing model. Today’s Internet marketing strategy must not only encompass the “look and feel” of your product, but must provide you with a measurable and definitive way to target your market through all the “online clutter.”

Here are three key questions to ask when planning your online marketing campaign:

1. Are you targeting the “right customer” to your website? Increasing traffic can come in a variety of ways (search engine sponsored listings, organic search, and web and e-mail advertising campaigns). However, increasing overall website traffic is not as important as increasing the number of “right customers” to your website.

You must invest the time to plan the entire process of your Internet marketing strategy from customer interest to sales confirmation. Without this effort, you could be making a costly mistake-in terms of both customers and money. You will find that selecting the most appropriate keywords and determining the most effective behavioral targeted websites for banner placements will lead to higher conversion results.

2. Are you clearly defining the call to action that you want them to take? The ultimate goal of any online campaign is getting your site visitors to convert to paying customers. In order to do this, you must have an easy-to-navigate site that draws the customer in and then guides them to the desired action.

Website usability, navigation, content and ad copy are the most important factors for defining the call to action of your site. However, it is key to track how well the combination of these design features work at turning your visitors into sales. By carefully monitoring everything on the site to see what’s working and what’s not, you can make the appropriate changes to your site, continue your monitoring and repeat the process until you get increased ROI.

3. Are you capturing useful information to better predict future customer behaviors? The area of web metrics is always evolving. Early on, data on server hits, unique visitors, repeat visitors, entry pages, exit pages, page navigation and average time spent on a page were some of the metrics you could gather from your website. Today, web analytics expand on key marketing decision factors such as conversion ratios, browse-to-buy rates and customer-acquisition costs. As research in this area continues, new metrics will develop, along with improved resources to measure them.

Overall, the Internet provides the most economical and effective method to measure exactly how a customer behaves in the sales process. Not only can web analysis help you improve your online marketing strategies, but this information can go a long way in developing your offline marketing advertising.

James Carpenter is marketing analyst for Livemercial in Valparaiso, Ind. He can be reached at (219) 477-3900.


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